Ono Pharma Breakthrough Science Initiative Awards

Funding Agency:
Ono Pharma Foundation

Ono Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. is a leading global healthcare company committed to delivering new, innovative pharmaceutical products to patients and championing the fight against disease and pain. Ono Pharmaceutical carries out these goals in cooperation with researchers, patients, their families, and healthcare providers.

The Ono Pharma Foundation was established to support academic research in relevant scientific fields, which have the potential of making significant impact on therapeutic approaches to disease. The Foundation’s competitive awards program, the Ono Pharma Breakthrough Science Initiative Awards Program (“Ono Initiative”), is the embodiment of the Foundation’s commitment to focus on and accelerate researcher-driven open innovation by supporting high-risk and high-reward science research projects which have potential to lead to science discoveries/solutions and, possibly, based on further research, to breakthrough treatments for patients.

Although additional areas of research may be added in future years, in 2023 the Ono Pharma Foundation will only consider proposals for scientific research projects addressing Chemical Biology Research.  

Each Nominating Institution may nominate up to two (2) applicants in Chemical Biology Research. 

Potential applicants should consult with Steve Murray, Foundation Relations (stephen.murray@duke.edu) before applying.

Program overview


  • Duke Internal: Dec. 15, 2022
  • Required Letter of Intent: Feb. 15, 2023
  • Invited Proposal due date: May 17, 2023

Areas of Interest

The purpose of the Ono Initiative is to support scientist Principal Investigators (“PIs”) with creative ideas in the selected scientific research field, Chemical Biology, with the mission of seeking discoveries/solutions and development of high impact science.

Target research of Chemical Biology is not specified. Chemical Biology is defined as research that deals with the interface between chemistry and biology. The criteria for this field are deliberately broad so as not to disqualify potentially innovative and groundbreaking projects.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicants must meet the following requirements. Letter of Interest (LOI) and final Proposals from applicants not meeting the requirements listed below will not be considered.

• PIs applying must be working at one of the nominating institutions. Nominating institutions might be replaced or added to in subsequent years.
• The PI must have an MD and/or a PhD degree.
• The PI must be a new applicant to the Ono Initiative, or, if they are returning, have applied over three years ago for a project different from the one they are currently proposing.
• The PI must be a young and/or mid-career scientist (15 years or below of experience from starting independent academic position).
• The PI may not already be engaged in other sponsored research with Ono Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. and/or grant program with Ono Pharma Foundation.
• The PI may not apply for funding to amplify current work. However, PIs may research a new idea based on a prior finding of the PI.

Amount Description

Applications comprising laboratory investigation will be considered. Project duration may last up to three years with annual funding of $300,000/year, totaling a maximum of $900,000 for the normal term of a research project.
The Ono Pharma Foundation will provide up to a maximum of an additional 15% ($45,000) per year of the funding to be used for indirect costs of the PI’s institution. The total amount of the three-year grant would be up to $1,035,000.
Three Awards are planned for 2023, contingent upon Ono Pharma Foundation appropriations and the submission of sufficient meritorious applications.

Funding Type



Junior Faculty


Engineering and Physical Sciences
Environmental & Life Sciences
Medical - Basic Science

Internal Nomination

Owing to the sponsor's restriction on the number of applications that may be submitted from Duke, anyone wishing to pursue nomination should submit the following materials as one PDF.

NIH Biosketch of project leader (including current/pending grant support)
1 - 1.5 pg. statement of “Vision for Proposed Research"

Please submit internal materials through My Research Proposal. (Code ILN) https://www.grantinterface.com/sl/kcqwQa

Instructions for creating an account (if needed) and submitting your materials: https://ctsi.duke.edu/about-myresearchproposal

Internal Deadline

December 15, 2022

External Deadline

February 15, 2023